Most people recognize varicose veins for their unpleasant cosmetic appearance. There’s more to these poorly-functioning veins, though. When varicose veins grow more distended, their swelling and twisting can lead to leg fatigue, cramping, itching, burning, and discoloration. At some point, treatment should be considered to alleviate discomfort. In our Los Angeles vein clinic, we offer procedures that have been proven to safely and effectively close varicose veins. VenaSeal is one that does this and does it more comfortably than alternatives.
What is VenaSeal?
VenaSeal is an alternative to the thermal ablation treatments that have been the gold standard for the past several years. While there are benefits to all approved vein-closure techniques, VenaSeal seems to be going a step above. Generally, thermal vein treatments have required tumescent anesthesia, the insertion of a low dose of lidocaine to make treatment more comfortable. The comfort measure has been necessary because the thermal energy that targets the vein walls may also affect nearby nerves.
VenaSeal is a minimally-invasive treatment that is becoming increasingly popular due to its “non-thermal, non-tumescent” status. Approved in 2015, VenaSeal is a technique that permanently closes diseased veins without the use of heat. This treatment closes veins with an n-butyl-2-cyanoacrylate (NBCA) based-formulation. In simple terms, a medical adhesive that shares the same chemistry as bio-adhesives that have been routinely used to close wounds and surgical incisions. When isolated, the adhesive is sterile and fluid. When inserted into the vein, the individual molecules in the adhesive interact with the blood and become stuck to one another. Within a few minutes, the adhesive becomes a dense material within the vein, creating the desired closure.
The VenaSeal Procedure
The VenaSeal procedure can take from thirty minutes to an hour depending on the vein being treated. To begin, the doctor uses ultrasound to map the reflex pattern of the vein. Ultrasound is used again to help guide a tiny catheter to the point where reflux is occurring. This is where the VenaSeal adhesive is injected. Small amounts of the solution are introduced in segments, followed by gentle compression to close each until the entire vein has been treated.
VenaSeal is a heat-free treatment that has less associated bruising and pain than thermal vein treatments. The adhesive affects only the inner walls of the treated vein, which allows patients to resume normal activities more quickly, as well, usually without the need for compression stockings.